Lessons From a Mother – Valerie Plowman

Valerie Plowman of Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

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For those of you who don't know this mommy, you are in for a treat! I have been following her blog since the day my daughter turned 8 weeks old. I remember pacing in my house at 3 am, trying to get Riley to stop crying and to fall asleep. Nothing worked. A friend of mine had told me about Valerie's blog, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom, and I immediately checked it out. I couldn't stop reading it. Motivation kicked in and I began using so many valuable principles from Valerie's website. Valerie has such a heart for helping parents through some hard phases with children. Being a mother of four children, she has enough knowledge to teach us all a thing or two. It's an honor to have her share the lessons she has learned and how she is able to manage life with four kids, run a successful blog, and have some time for herself.

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Valerie Plowman of Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

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Name: Valerie Plowman
Children: 4: Brayden (age 8), Kaitlyn (age 6), McKenna (age 4), and Brinley (age 1)
Blog/Company: I blog at www.babywisemom.com. I blog about parenting.

What are your favorite products?
I love products that have lasting value. I like quality. You can see my favorite baby products here: Index: Baby Stuff I love. You can find toys here: Index: Best Toys for Baby/Toddler/Preschooler/Child.

Two things you learned that no one could have prepared you for:
One is what a challenge motherhood is in general. People talk about how hard the sleepless nights can be and how hard it is to be cooped up in the house with new babies, but you never get it until you have been there. It seems like you don’t even really get it once you have been there—you only get it while you are there. Motherhood is tiring—you are doing it all day every day 24/7. Your brain is never off. I even sleep in a lighter state than I did before I had kids.

The second thing is how much you love your children. And all of them. When you have your first child, you have so much love for this little person! And it is a pure, selfless, I-would-die-for-you-without-hesitation love. You think that child is pure perfection. You worry because you know it isn’t possible you will be able to love that second child as much as the first. And you do! After four children, I know that when you have a child, you love that child fiercely and simply because that child is yours. It doesn’t matter what number of child it is—the love is pure.

Best advice you received:
The best advice I received was to take the advice I could use and leave the rest. As mothers, we get advice from EVERYONE. We get it from our moms, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, friends, random moms at the park, people we don’t know at the grocery store, and yes even people who have never had children. Unsolicited advice from any one of these people can be quite frustrating—even if they mean well. My mom told me she always just took what she could use and ignored the rest. I try to remember (and assume) most people mean well. They are trying to be helpful rather than annoying or insulting. So I listen to what they are saying, decide if there is anything I want to apply, and ignore the rest.

Something you struggle with as a mom:
I struggle with feeling like I am less wise than the job needs. I feel like I should know more and have better answers for how to respond in a variety of situations. I wish I knew more!

How do you balance the demands of your career, family, life, etc.?
There are a few things I do to manage this. One is to keep a list. Another is to prioritize my list; I make sure to do the most important things first. I also make sure I have a plan going into each day. Another is to remember “work” is never done. I stopped trying to attain a “done” to-do list so that I make sure I leave time for fun. The most important and effective thing I find is that when I study my scriptures in the morning, my day goes much smoother.

You can read more in my “How I Do It” series and my post We Don't Need to Live at a Frantic Pace.

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